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The word camera derives from the Latin for vaulted chamber.  A camera is in fact simply a room or box.  A camera obscura is, therefore, a darkened room.

Theories as to the first use of a camera obscura vary according to culture.  In 1558 Giambattista della Porta documented the effect in his Magia Naturalis, which popularised the phenomenon.

This image documents the final result of a joint project with my son, which he used in a science presentation at school.   Just like della Porta we used a lens to focus the image outside onto the wall inside our darkened room.  Interestingly the audience found it almost as hard to believe the result as in the 16th Century.  In fact della Porta was later questioned by the Spanish Inquisition on suspicion of sorcery.

I recorded the projection on a modern digital camera - so literally a camera in camera.  I particularly like the way the image reveals itself gradually - it resembles a landscape in a wooden frame - but the frame is uneven and has no top.  The landscape is upside down - and contains a light switch and a plug socket.


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